Uphaar cinema owner Gopal Ansal surrendered before Tihar Jail authorities on Monday evening, hours after the Supreme Court rejected his plea for more time to hand himself over. Ansal and his brother Sushil owned the South Delhi theatre, where 55 moviegoers died after it caught fire in 1997. Ansal will now serve a one-year jail term.
Earlier in the day, the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar had told Ansal’s lawyer Ram Jethmalani that it cannot wait till President Pranab Mukherjee takes a call on Ansal’s mercy petition. Jethmalani had argued before the court that since the president was not available, Ansal should be given more time till a decision is made on his petition.
On February 9, the top court had sentenced Ansal to jail for a year in connection with the fire. He was asked to surrender within four weeks. Ansal has already spent four months in jail.
The court had spared Sushil Ansal because of his age. He is 77 years old.
The fire broke out during an afternoon screening of Bollywood film Border. Most of the victims died of suffocation, while several others were injured in the stampede that ensued. The cinema hall authorities had blocked the exit doors to add more seats, which left people trapped inside.
Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe
Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.
Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:
1. Get inside the mind of a burglar
Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.
— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.
Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.
Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.
2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses
Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.
You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).
4. Protect your home from the outside
Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.
While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.
The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.